My wife grew up in south Minneapolis. Much of our courtship took place in the area where George Floyd was killed. It is hard see pictures of the destruction that has taken place. In the midst of the ruins is a mural. At the corner of East 36th Street and Chicago Avenue, on the wall of a local business, is a large mural dedicated to the memory of George Floyd.
A group of local artist came together to paint the mural. One of them said, “It provides people a place to process. I think having a place for people to come and cry or scream or pray or do whatever they need to do is really important.” The artist went on to say, “I think a mural is a good format [for] saying, ‘Don’t look away from this any longer.'”
Like most of you I have given thought to this senseless death and the chaos it has brought to our country. The words, “I can’t breathe” have become a rallying cry for many demonstrations. Those words were upsetting for millions of people who watched the video. It depicted a man suffocating, because he could not breathe. He cried out “please.”
Harold Floyd was not able to physical breathe. He died a horrible death on the street. But what about spiritual breathe. By all accounts, Mr Floyd was a believer, a flawed pilgrim like the rest of us. At the bottom of the mural were these liberating words, “I CAN BREATHE NOW.”
In the midst of a tragedy that has gripped to nation, we find words of life pointing to the ultimate reality. George lost physical breathe, but was able to breathe spiritually. We read in Ecclesiastes, “Yet God has make everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart” (Eccl. 3:11).
George Floyd, the one in whom the spirit of the living God lives, has now been release to be with Jesus. In Genesis 2:7 we read, “and the Lord God formed a man’s body from the dust of the ground and breathe into it the breath of life. And the man became a living person.” Paul picks up on this when he reminds us, “The Scriptures tell us, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living person.’ But the last Adam- that is, Christ – is a life-giving Spirit” (I Cor 15:45).
To the Philippians, Paul shared that he really wanted to leave and be with the Lord. He was hard pressed. “For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better.” (Phil 1:21) Then he says “I’m torn between two desires; Sometimes I want to live; and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ. That would be far better for me, but it is better for you that I live” (Phil 1:23-4).
I pray that those we read about or actually see the mural will consider their spiritual state. Are they ready to die? Are they afraid of death? How will they die? These are all questions we all ask. George Floyd died a tragic death. But where is he now. With Jesus. Many don’t have the assurance of this hope.
Listen to these wonderful words from Paul. “For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever. So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever” ( II Cor 4:17-18).